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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 188 | Wed 05 Dec 2012
NIGERIA: THE TERROR OF JIHAD
by Elizabeth Kendal
As was reported in RLPB 187 (28 Nov), up to 20 Christians were killed and dozens wounded on Sunday 25 November in a twin suicide bombing at St Andrew's Protestant Church inside the Jaji military barracks in Kaduna. Investigations indicate that the bombers may have been residents of the barracks and might have built the bomb on site, which would explain why they were granted access to the church without being searched. This raises fears that other military establishments could be similarly targeted. That same week Boko Haram gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja, freeing 30 detainees and killing two policemen. Guards were under strict orders not to shoot. But Nigeria is at war! In Boko Haram's own words on 29 November, 'Jihad [holy war] started now, jihad started now, O enemies of Allah.'
On Saturday night 1 December a band of jihadists attacked Kupwal, a remote village in Chibok Local Government Area (LGA). (That is about 160km south of the Boko Haram stronghold of Maiduguri in Borno, Nigeria's most north-eastern state.) They invaded the Christian district and according to survivors entered 'carefully selected' homes, slitting the throats of the occupants. They then set fire to homes and sacked the whole neighbourhood to chants of 'Allahu Akbar' (Allah is the greatest). [See http://quran.com/7/4 .] At least 10 people were killed whilst dozens escaped with serious and life-threatening injuries. Observers believe Boko Haram was either responsible or at least complicit.
On Sunday morning 2 December, some 50 Islamic gunmen in cars and on motorbikes attacked a police station, immigration and customs offices and three churches in Gamboru Ngala, Ngala LGA. (That is 140km north of Maiduguri, Borno State, near the border with Cameroon.) Before launching their attack, the jihadists destroyed the mobile phone masts to prevent communication and so compound the crisis. With shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' they opened fire on police, killing five. The churches were torched and Christians living and doing business in the border town were targeted. About two weeks earlier, leaflets had been distributed in which the Islamists declared their intention to impose Taliban-style rule, e.g., women were told to wear the veil and cigarettes were banned. A tailor was subsequently shot for continuing to make clothing the Islamists deemed un-Islamic.
In a 30 November column, author and analyst Raymond Ibrahim explained why persecution such as that described above is 'Islam's Achilles' heel'. Persecution committed by dominant Muslims in Muslim communities - i.e. Muslims who cannot claim to be 'oppressed' or 'aggrieved' - against vulnerable minority Christians is simply impossible to justify. Such persecution exposes Islam as supremacist, totalitarian, intolerant and imperialistic; as a movement that will not rest until the 'other' is totally subjugated. 'And to Allah prostrates whoever is within the heavens and the earth, willingly or by compulsion, and their shadows [as well] in the mornings and the afternoons.' (See http://quran.com/13/15 )
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL -
* rise up on behalf of his traumatised and terrorised people and intervene to rout the enemy and deliver his Church.
'And he [King David] said, "The LORD has burst through my enemies [the Philistines] before me like a bursting flood." Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim [the Lord who bursts through]' (2 Samuel 5:20b ESV).
* bring healing and comfort to his bleeding, broken and grieving people; may he provide all their needs and make his loving presence felt so as to sustain their sorely-tested faith, that they might be 'more than conquerors through him who loved us' (from Romans 8:31-39 ESV).
* give the Nigerian authorities divine wisdom and insight, strength and commitment that they might excel in their battle against the enemies of the state and the enemies of the LORD.
* re-assure the church in northern Nigeria of his protection who is their 'strong city' (Isaiah 26:1). May the church in the south, and indeed the rest of the world, join this battle by praying for the north (Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11).
* bless every Nigerian missionary and every witnessing Nigerian with divine courage and power from the Holy Spirit, for this is first and foremost a spiritual struggle (Ephesians 6:12).
SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
THE TERROR OF JIHAD IN NIGERIA
A full-blown Islamic jihad is raging in Nigeria and it is terrifying for the Christians of the north on the front-line. On Saturday evening 1 December jihadists attacked the Christian district of a remote village in Borno State. Entering 'carefully selected' homes, they murdered the occupants before sacking and burning the entire neighbourhood to shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' (Allah is the greatest). Ten were killed whilst dozens fled with serious and life-threatening injuries. On Sunday morning 2 December jihadists attacked another village in Borno close to the Cameroon border. With shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' they opened fire on police, killing five, before torching numerous government facilities and three churches. Only weeks earlier, Christians were threatened with violence if they did not leave the area. Please pray for Nigeria.
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This RLPB was written for the Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (AEA RLC) by Elizabeth Kendal, an international religious liberty analyst and advocate, and a member of the AEA RLC team.
Elizabeth is Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at the Melbourne School of Theology.
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